Tuesday, January 24, 2012

7 Things I Want My Children To Know

Life is hard. But it’s worth it. Keep focusing on those silver linings. 

Life is filled with happiness and sadness, good and bad, like and dislike.  There are times of incredible hardship, when just the simple act of waking up in the morning and putting both feet on the floor is almost impossible. But even in those times there is light. Even when you feel you’ve lost everything or you have nothing or you can’t imagine taking one more step, there is something to be gained. 

There is always something positive to see, if you take the time to look. And there is always hope for a better day and a reason to keep on going. If you can just take that next step, just keep going, you’ll see that even in the darkest and longest tunnel, there is a light at the end.

Make mistakes and don’t be afraid to admit you did.

Nothing will ever be gained if you don’t take a chance. I’ve spent a good portion of my life being afraid to fail and ultimately failing miserably at so many things because I never took the chance to succeed. When things got hard for me, I quit them rather than fail.  The thought of trying and not succeeding at something was just too much for me to handle. I had to be in control.  

It wasn’t until I had children, something I couldn’t give up on, that I realized it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s NORMAL to make mistakes. I’ve made a mountain of mistakes raising the three of you and I’m sure I’ll make a couple mountains more. But you all are STILL amazing. I’m still in absolute awe of you and your little minds and your big ideas… and I realize that all the mistakes I’ve made have made you into these wonderful people. 

Don’t be afraid to tell other people about the mistakes you made.  Help other people learn from your mistakes and you’ll ultimately be making the world a better place. There’s no shame in screwing up if you can pick yourself up and move on. Just don’t give up just because something gets hard or looks scary. If it doesn’t work out, you learned a lesson. 

Don’t ever be afraid to be yourself.

The world is full of people trying to be something they’re not. But you have the opportunity to be real and true by being who you really are inside. What you think and believe makes you who you are. Don’t allow someone else to do your thinking for you. You’re smart and quick witted and kind and the thoughts and feelings that come from within you are more important than any thoughts that someone else tries to put in your head. 

In your life you’ll be bombarded constantly with propaganda. Messages trying to convince you to think a certain way or feel a certain way. But you know what is right for YOU. Be true to yourself, always, even when it’s difficult.  This life is a gift, don’t waste it living for anyone other than yourself.

Don’t be afraid of change.

The best things have come about by change so don’t cling fast to old ideas and comfortable surroundings for fear of change. The world will never stop changing. Get used to it. One day you’ll look back at your life and wonder what happened to one thing or another place. Hold on to your memories of those things you’ve loved in the past, but look forward to the wonderful things you will love in the future. 

It’s not an easy thing, to accept change. You’ll have to watch your parents get older, you’ll see people and animals that you love die and you’ll have to go on without them. You’ll move, you’ll start a new job, you’ll have a baby. And every time something changes it’s a little scary.  But with every change there is an opportunity for things to be even better, even more amazing, and for you to live an even happier life. 

And there’s always the opportunity to change again if things aren’t what you want them to be.

Be honest.

I think it was Mark Twain who once said “When in doubt, tell the truth.”  Honesty is almost always the very best policy.  There are few people in your life that you will be able to trust without question, but those people will mean more to you than everyone else. Because there is nothing that can compare to trust. 

Be that person that other people can trust. And not just with other people. Be that person with yourself, too. People lie to themselves even more than they lie to other people, and those little lies you tell yourself are the worst kinds of lies. 

If you know you’re always being truthful, you’ll create a sense of peace and tranquility within your life that can never be equaled by any amount of wealth or fame or friendships. Always be honest. 

If it feels like it might be the wrong thing to do, it probably is.

You have a voice inside yourself that will let you know when something is wrong. When your friends are about to do something you don’t feel comfortable with and are urging you to go along, listen to that voice. When someone offers you an opportunity that seems like it might be shady or dishonest or might hurt other people, listen to that voice. When you drive your car into a parking lot and hesitate to go inside whatever building is there because something just doesn’t feel right, listen to that voice.  You might never know what you avoided, but there’s a reason that voice is within you. Use it. 

You’ve been blessed to have wonderful people in your life that have given you guidance. That guidance has given you a conscious and a moral fiber that will help you for the rest of your life. Don’t waste that little voice inside of you, it’s there to keep you safe.

I will always love you.
No matter what you do, who you love, or path you follow, I will never stop loving you. Even on my most frustrating days, the days when I am disappointed and can't imagine how you could have made whatever decision you made, I will always, ALWAYS love you. You will always be my child and I will always be your mother and I will never give up on you.